ORANGE, Texas — Family and friends of the father accused in the ‘violent death’ of his 2-year-old daughter described him as a father who had been struggling with mental illness as well as the death of his daughter’s mother on Father’s Day in 2016.
Yovahnis Roque, 26, of Orange, who police found naked and covered in blood at his mother’s home, has been charged with capital murder in the ‘violent death’ of his daughter.
Judge Courtney Arkeen set his bond has been at $2 million Wednesday morning in 128th District Court in Orange.
An Orange Police captain described the crime, in which police say he used a hammer to kill the girl, as the worst he’s seen in 29 years.
Foster and Roque met online and after dating for two months found out they were going to be parents according to Devin Rodriguez, who grew up with Foster and told 12News they remained close friends.
Even before the night an alleged drunk driver took Rachel Foster’s life Roque, who’s nickname was “Geo,” had struggled with mental illness and some drug use Rodriguez said.
Foster, who had earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and loved working with kids, stayed by his side and wanted to help him Rodriguez told 12News on Wednesday.
She was excited to become a mom according to Rodriguez.
On the night she was killed by an alleged drunk driver their baby girl, Savannah, or “SaviMia” as the family called her, was only 19-days-old.
Roque “held a lot of guilt” about the wreck that killed his wife according to his brother Lazaro Roque, 29, who lives in Colorado, told 12News Wednesday.
He had gotten stranded after running out of gas and when his sister couldn’t come help he had called Foster who came to his aid.
She was killed when the alleged drunk driver struck her and hit the car she in came along with Roque’s car severely injuring him Lazaro Roque said.
After the wreck Rocque was in a coma with injuries including lacerations, a punctured lung and leg injuries that forced the leg to be reconstructed and left him in a wheelchair his brother told 12News.
A tattoo on the top of Roque’s right hand was visible when he made his court appearance and read “Live Free 06-19-16.”
After Foster’s death Rodriguez told 12News she and her mother became a “second family” to Roque and baby Savannah.
“He was pretty much a brother to me,” Rodriguez said of the young father.
Following Foster’s death Roque’s own mom moved to Texas and by November 2018 he and baby Savannah moved in with her in Orange, Rodriguez said.
Rodriquez told12News that as far as she knew Roque was supposedly doing well with his mom in Texas. She added that she knew him as a very protective father who wouldn’t lay a hand on baby Savannah.
While Rodriguez thought he was doing well Lazaro Roque says that his brother had been having problems.
“I don’t have the answer to why… Why he did it,” Lazaro Roque told 12News on Wednesday.
Lazaro Roque mentioned that he thought his younger brother could have possibly been suffering from a “drug induced paranoia.”
The morning Savannah was killed Lazaro said their mother had left his brother and his daughter at home while she went to get a “mental health warrant” for Roque.
That morning Roque had “been talking nonsense” mentioning “CERN” and things like the “sun consuming you” Lazaro Roque told 12News.
By the time their mother returned she found him and the baby and then went next door to their aunt’s house and their aunt called police according to Lazaro Roque.
The last post on Roque’s Facebook account on February 18, 2019, at 10:21 p.m. less than 12 hours before baby Savannah was killed mentioned “CERN.”
“The government has a machine called CERN deep in the earths crust. They have had it there forever. The presidents meet in a meeting room,” roque wrote on Facebook.
“CERN” is the acronym for the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, Switzerland.
“There’s no reason justifying what he did,” Lazaro Roque said of his younger brother, adding “That’ll never bring the baby back.”
Rodriguez and other friends are hoping baby Savannah can be returned to Florida to be buried next to her mom.
"I am honestly disgusted... I just hope everyone can heal from this,” Rodriguez told 12News.